Progress At an Addict’s Pace

This last week, I was again due for a refill on my insurance-funded amphetamine ration (a month’s worth of 30mg XR’s). I have found that the demand for the ‘medicine’ which I am prescribed is alive and well. I managed to rid myself of all but 8 of those pills, which I took in a 3-day binge ending today with my final dose of 30mg at about 9:30 this morning.

Compared to 3 years of doing my entire script, this is progress. I would like to be completely off amphetamines, but going from using my script and buying 2-3 other scripts to doing 2-8 pills a month, this is progress. The withdrawals and intensity of addiction symptoms have reduced dramatically, and I feel a sense of having a personality again.

All that aside, I did genuinely feel great enjoyment from the Adderall I was able to indulge in. Today, ending the binge, marks the usual time in which I continue to indulge regardless of the huge negative side-effects of staying up for a week to avoid coming down from speed’s cloud nine. At the same time, I realize how inaccurate the cravings I have for Adderall are compared to the reality of an addiction where I am chasing a high that I haven’t felt since my first handful of times with the substance.

That’s really all that keeps us from achieving freedom from amphetamines or other hard drugs. I still can recall in crystal-clear detail the absolute bliss I felt during my first few highs on amphetamine, and the godlike pleasure and feeling of being the master of the world that the first year of experiences with this substance gave me. No matter the amount of time between doses of amphetamine, these honeymoon highs it once gave me are never going to come back. The hope for this return is really the root of addiction in my mind. It’s like a bad relationship. Delusional psychological glorification of a once great relationship keep hope alive that the spark comes back, yet every time disappointment rules supreme.

Everyday life often fails to meet your brain’s altered sense of what thrill and excitement are. Hell, when a chemical can provide dopamine release 15 times more intense than sex, it is hard to adjust to normal levels of reward system function that pale in comparison to the feeling of ultimate stimulant euphoria that amphetamines elicit. At the same time, some moments in life begin to have color again when away from this drug, and those emotions completely outdo the synthetic state amphetamines produce. The challenge is knowing this when you are underwhelmed or bored. Dealing with these states of mind are the most difficult. I still haven’t found a solution to boredom other than social contact and using other, less harmful substances like weed and alcohol to fill the gaping hole of a lack of stimulation. There is no natural way that much dopamine is ever going to be released again, and quitting amphetamines is basically a process of teaching your brain to accept that what is considered enjoyment should not be compared with speed-induced dopamine surges.

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